James Harden opted into his $35.6 M player option in June, followed by an immediate trade request.
Since then, there has been little to no news regarding the trade discussions.

When the trade request was placed, ESPN ran stories about the Clippers, Heat, and Knicks being interested, but there have been no real updates since. The most information that fans have gotten so far is that the Clippers are the only team that the Sixers seem to have any real discussions with, but the Clippers’ current offers are nowhere near what Daryl Morey and the Sixers are asking for in return.

This is not uncommon when it comes to trade talks, as both teams are going to play hardball and try to win the trade, but as this offseason is dragging along, there doesn’t seem to be any progress.

The main issue with trade talks seems to come from the polarizing views players, teams, and GMs have about James Harden and his play style at this point in his career.

Harden averaged 21 points, 10.7 assists (led the league), and 6 rebounds this past season, but his current trade value would not allow the Sixers to bring back players who could replace that production.

Harden is getting older, and everyone has noticed a decline in his scoring ability, but his all-time great ability is skewing how people view him now. Averaging 20 points and 10 assists while enabling the team’s superstar to have the best season of his career and winning an MVP should not hurt James Harden’s trade value.

When he was on the Rockets, averaging 40+ points in a given month was incredible. Still, other than Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain, nobody else in NBA history has ever accomplished that. Holding Harden to that standard for the rest of his career is unfair, mainly because he has been so effective in his new role.

There are not five-point guards in the league who did what Harden accomplished last season, but he is viewed as this old man who will only be able to play for a couple more years. Harden would make any of the three teams who were initially mentioned in trade talks instantly better, but the team that it seems like he is most likely to go to is the Los Angeles Clippers. Harden has said he wants to play there, and it is also the only team on the list that is in the Western Conference, which is great for the Sixers because you are always hoping to send stars to another conference, so you are helping a rival team.

The Clippers, however, don’t seem willing to make a serious offer, and there are reports that Terrance Mann is untouchable in the trade talks so far. James Harden is worth so much more than the current offers from the Clippers, so this seems to be a waiting game until one side gets more desperate to get this deal done.

Now that the Summer league is over, rookies have been signed, and free agency is almost over, teams are beginning to finalize their rosters, and the Clippers should start to become more aggressive to get Harden before training camp starts. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are both eligible for massive contract extensions from the Clippers. Still, their team has been disappointing and needs to prove they can compete for championships before the Clippers offer them all that money.

This makes this season a great opportunity to go “all in” and trade for Harden to try and win one before paying those two-star players. As the season nears, pressure from the media and players will start to build, and eventually, the Clippers will cave. However, that most likely won’t begin until the beginning of training camp on September 30th, so expect August to be just as quiet as June and July have been.

At the end of the day, until teams stop trying to lowball the Sixers, nothing will get done, and now Sixers fans will have to go through another dragged-out trade process as they did with Ben Simmons a few years ago.

Morey was able to get a great deal for Ben, so there needs to be some faith in him this time to do the same.

Time will tell how this will work out, but Sixers fans should not hold their breath for the deal to get done soon.

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